The Game of Thrones, a fantasy TV drama series, is a medieval epic set in a world of its own, steeped in a unique history with rich folklore and symbolism. It is easy to see why Croatia was chosen as the location with a long past dating back to the stone age. It has been the place of conflict between warring factions from the Romans, Hapsburgs, Venetians and through to present day, and her architecture and monuments are testament to this long history.
And with shipping being such an integral part of commerce and conflict, both in real-life bygone eras as well as the fantasy realm of the Game of Thrones, exploring this area on board a luxury charter yacht makes imminent sense.
Even if you are not a Game of Thrones aficionado these locations are of interest for their true historical value as well as their natural beauty.
1. DUBROVNIK / KINGS LANDING
Dubrovnik is one of Croatia's top tourist destinations, with or without the Game of Thrones, and is justifiably known as the "Pearl of the Adriatic". As the capital of the mythical world of Westorosof it is also home to many well known locations in the series.
Wander around St Dominika Street, the walled old city, and you will experience the cobbled lanes and stone houses of the market scenes or more sinisterly where King Robert's illegitimate sons were murdered.
Visit the Red Keep (or today's Lovrijenac Fortress) and look out at the bay used for the dramatic Battle of Blackwater.
Just off the coast here is the beautiful protected island of Lokrum. Qarth, the "Queen of Cities" was ruled by the 'pureborn' and the location for much of Daenerys' tale.
And a visit to Dubrovnik would not be complete without a visit to the highest point where the striking Minčeta Tower stands. This is the House of the Undying, the walls of which Khaleesi struggled to find an entrance to, and it is also has the most amazing views of the city in all its glory.
2. TRSTENO ARBORETUM / KINGS LANDING PALACE GARDENS
Some 20 minutes from Dubrovnik and overlooking the Adriatic Sea is the ornate and beautiful 15th century gardens which transforms into the palace gardens of Kings Landing, and an important filming location, for the series. It was a place for gossip, conspiracy and plotting. It was here that Sansa revealed the cruel and cowardly nature of King Joffrey to the daunting Lady Olenna, Queen of Thorns.
The spectacular sea views along with the collection of lush exotic and decorative trees and shrubs and the fountain of Neptune with its ancient aqueducts make it a worthy side excursion when in the vicinity of Dubrovnik.
3. STON / KINGS LANDING
Ston is located 60 km north of Dubrovnik and her amazing 5km wall that connects this small village to the smaller Mali Ston was also used as part of the walls of the Kings Landing. This fortified wall runs along the isthmus that connects the two villages and dates back to the 15th century. It took approximately two centuries to complete and was built to protect the valuable asset that salt, from the local and still-operating salt works, was. It is the second larget fortified wall in the world.
And while the wall may well be the main reason to visit do try the local oysters here. They are distinctly different to other oysters, a very rare and delicious breed.
4. SPLIT / MEEREEN
Much of Split's old town centre consists of Diocletian's Palace, a Unesco World Heritage site and one of the world's most notable Roman remains. Built in the 3rd century it makes a fabulous backdrop to some impressive scenes in the Game of Thrones.
The basement of the palace was used for Daenerys' throne room and was also where the dragons were kept. It's easy to believe in dragons here when exploring this mediaeval citadel. In addition within the palace's corridors you'll find where the Sons of the Harpy waited for the Unsullied.
Split's narrow streets, Papalićeva St in particular, is the setting where the slaves rose in rebellion and when freed took the blood of their masters. And when Daenerys arived she too exacted revenge on the city's leaders by nailing 163 of them to crosses for the 163 slave children they previously crucified trying to intimidate her..
Not far from Split is the village of Žrnovnica and it is in the quarry here that the Unsullied fought an an epic battle in season four was shot. And it was in the river of the same name that the famous naked river scene with Daenerys' trusted servant, the beautiful Missandei, was shot.
Finally a visit to the Fortress of Klis, built on the cliffs overlooking the city, is a must. This is the location of many legendary conflicts both historical and imaginary. It is, without doubt, the ideal setting for Daernery's stronghold where she plots her return to power and also provides a breathtaking vista of Croatia's second largest cities, Split.
5. ŠIBENIK / BRAAVOS
Šibenik has a magnificent medieval centre with a labyrinth of cobbled lanes protected by four fortresses on each of its side: the Fortress of St. Nicholas, St. Michael, St. John and the Šubićevac Fortress. These fortified walls and historical buildings are featured in the fifth season of the Game of Thrones as the initially secret city of Braavos. The Braavosi citizens are the descendents of escaped salves and they were instrumental in protecting Arya Stark as she escapes from Poniente.
It is also the entrance to the Krka National Park a vast, mostly untouched area of lush greenness and blue crystalline water. With seven waterfalls and an altitude drop of 242m it is truly breathtaking and the backdrop to many of the forest and wilderness scenes in the fourth season.
Croatia offers a tantalising cruising ground with a rich and long history that the producers of the Game of Thrones have used with great aplomb.
A luxury yacht charter is the ideal way to explore the footsteps of ancient lives, both real and fictional. For further information about this area and yachts available please contact one of the luxury charter specialists at the Luxury Charter Group.